Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Zirrly - Super Beads - A Review

Super Beads Bird Set

Hello craft lovers, if you've been  looking for a cool new project to work on with the kids in your life, I have a review of Super Beads from Zirrly to share with you. We received the Super Beads Bird Set this month, and my daughters were happy to get their little hands on them. I'm sure that you're wondering what a super bead is, so let me begin there. They are teeny little, well, beads. They are used with plastic trays that have pegs on them to create an assortment of cute animals, vehicles, and whatever else you might imagine. Not only can you create fun characters, these creations are designed to be fused together with water, making it a safe project to complete with kids. The recommended age range is 5 years and up.

Our Super Beads Birds set came with the following:

2 Plastic Design Boards
3  Colored Paper Templates to complete a Duck, Owl, and Parrot
Super Beads
Small Spray Bottle
1 Design Tool
Plastic Work Tray - This was the tray that all materials were packed in

Now for the fun part- crafting! After a brief squabble over who would create which bird, my girls went to work. The colored paper templates have little tabs that allow them to be placed under the design boards. This provides an easy to follow guide, which would be especially helpful for younger kids. These beads will provide plenty of practice for fine motor skills. They fit on the pegged design boards a bit snugly, so press them on firmly. The nice thing about that secure grip, is that the beads are not as easily knocked off of the board if they are slightly bumped (which is always frustrating). A cute feature of this kit is that you'll also make "feet" on the design board that are separate from the main character. These will connect to those main feet, allowing your project to stand on its own for an easy display.

Once the design is complete, it's time to fuse! This is where the little spray bottle makes its entrance. Fill it with water (obviously, right?), and then, holding the bottle about an inch or two over the beads, spray evenly, being sure to cover the entire project. This step does require some finesse. Too little water, and the project will not adequately fuse, while too much water will leave you with  beads that turn to mush. As this was our first time working with the Zirrly  Super Beads , we were conservative with the water at first. This resulted in a project that didn't quite fuse enough. Spraying again, and generously, we achieved the perfect fuse.

Drying time, this is important as well. The instructions stated that this step might take as long as 60 minutes. The project should be dry to the touch before you attempt to remove it from its design board. We found that our beads required a longer drying time. The boards have holes in them, so after several hours, we flipped them over to get some more air flow to the project. Then we let them sit overnight. That was a good decision, because they were perfectly dry, and came off the board without breaking.

Removing your project from the design board takes a bit of gentle elbow grease. As I mentioned before, these beads have a firm grip to begin with, and once fused, that grip is even stronger. You can use the tool that comes with the kit, or simply peel it off slowly. Then, attach the separate pieces that fit onto the feet of the character, and display for all to admire!

After getting familiar with the way Super Beads work, our  consensus was - Two Thumbs Up! Zirrly  has won over this family, including my 13 year old who will freely tell you that she's not really into crafting. With this project, she's a big fan. She's already asking to purchase other kits, and I'm happy to oblige.

We all like the flexible surface of the completed product. They bend a bit, but are not too fragile to handle. Even if they do have a break, a spray of water will re-fuse them. My daughters are older, so they didn't require assistance in finishing this project. Kids on the younger side of the recommended age may need a little help with a couple of the steps. As for me, I'm thinking ahead to summer,  VBS, and other environments where I can possibly use these beads with kids that I'll be interacting with. Interested? See the links below, and learn more about Zirrly !

Visit Zirrly on social media:





     Read other Crew reviews about  Zirrly  Super Beads sets by clicking the image below.

Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Home School in the Woods - Á La Carte Projects- A Review

Spring is a great time to freshen up your regular home school studies, and this month, we've had the opportunity to do just that as we've been reviewing a few digital  Á La Carte Projects  from Home School in the Woods. Home School in the Woods?, you might be asking, who, or what is that? I'm glad that you asked. They are a business, headed up by homeschooling mom, Amy Pak, with her family working beside her. (And here's a fun fact, they did home school in the woods!)
It was during her years of schooling her children,that she began creating various printable history lessons and projects. There's much more to it, and I hope that you'll visit this wonderful
website, and check out the rest of Amy's testimony, as well as the great resources there. Right now, I want to share the products that we've had the joy of using.

Our family was given three different digital products from the Á La Carte Projects collection. These are various printable downloadable projects, games, and/or crafts to be used with some of the larger projects that are offered on their site. In the Á La Carte collection, you can add them to your personal studies however you like! We received:

* Composers through History Timeline

* The Jamestown Replica

* The Art of Quilling

Alright, as it only makes sense to begin at the beginning, I'll start with the Composers through History Timeline. This was originally a resource that was paired with the Composers Activity-Pak .
As the title states, it's a, wait for it...timeline. The printables in this package provide 42 composers that span the various periods of music,- Romantic, Classical, Modern, etc.. Conveniently, the featured composers are grouped into their specific music genre. Besides those, there are a couple of timelines to print as well. These also are ordered by genre and date, and have the names of each composer on the page, making it simple to categorize each one. As you study a composer, you can cut out, and then put the picture of him up on the timeline. We've used this product as an extra side study in our schooling. We've approached it somewhat informally. After collecting an assortment of books at the library, and researching on the Internet, we would gather at the table, and share what we learned about certain composers. My daughters are musicians, so they found this a fun and interesting little project. We've enjoyed listening to pieces of music that were previously unfamiliar, and sharing fun facts about a few of the more quirky composers.

Our next project is The Jamestown Replica, which was first created for the larger study, Time Travelers: The American Revolution . This project is a 3-D project once completed. It is, a replica of the Jamestown fort. We printed out the base, fences, houses, and bulwarks, colored them, cut them out, and glued everything together. My 12 year old and I were pleasantly surprised at the great details that went into providing the tabs that fold down, and show where to cut and fold. The design is fantastic! We had no trouble putting this together. It is now proudly on display in our family room! We found this to be a fun project, and are already deciding the next one that we ant to build.

The third, and final project that we received is actually my favorite. The Art of Quilling was first  made for the study Time Travelers: Colonial Life . With this instructional guide and pattern for teaching how to paper quill, I have found my new favorite hobby! This was so fun and relaxing. You do need to purchase the quilling materials separately (A good way to use those Hobby Lobby Coupons for 40% off), but that's not a big deal. This pack provides detailed instructions, the basic shapes of paper coils (all in color, by the way), and a pattern to create your own paper quill Forget-Me-Not. I was pleased with how it came out, and now I'm searching for more patterns! If you're studying Colonial life, this is a great, and easy craft to present. Love, love, love!

The Home School in the Woods Á La Carte Projects is a fantastic collection of history resources. I am so excited about this business! Every digital product that we received includes detailed instructions, colorful pictures, and easy to use designs. In addition to those aspects, the prices are great value. No stalking the delivery folks, because you purchase, then download. Done. Why not pop over and visit their site today?

Find Home School in the Woods on social media:

                                 Read more Crew reviews by clicking the image below:

À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ugh, The Flu!

See the photo above? In case the title of this post didn't tip you off, the Flu has made a very unwelcome visit to our home this week. Ugh. I guess it was too good to be true. We made it through  the majority of winter pretty healthy, but the last part of the weekend found my husband, and youngest daughter knocked on their behinds. Fever, stuffy noses, cough, body aches, they have 'em. So, there have been lots of fluids, chicken soup, hot tea, garlic, vitamin c, and so on.  On the one hand, it's been a long week, but on the other hand, it's also been an exhausting blur.  I'm praying that not only will we turn a corner quickly, but that my oldest daughter and I do not get this ick.
I hope that you all are healthy this week. C'mon, spring!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NatureGlo's eScience - MathArt Online - A Review

Hey there homeschool friends, it's almost Spring, and as the school year begins to wrap up, I have a review from NatureGlo's eScience to share with you, more specifically,  the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle . For the purpose of this post, our family focused on one of the 4 possible options, Math Connections with the Real World.

Math. There's just something about that subject. Either you excel in it, and maybe even love it, or you struggle through, and detest it. No doubt, there are a few of you that fall somewhere in between that spectrum, but most families that I've talked with, feel strongly about math. When this review opportunity surfaced, I was intrigued by the title - Math Connections with the Real World. Like many others, this is the subject that makes our family's heads ache. We've bounced around here and there, searching for that perfect Math fit. Maybe this would be "it". A program that brings math concepts and real life together? Hey, it was worth a shot.

The Philosophy behind NatureGlo's eScience :

Founder and instructor Gloria Brooks, created these classes with the intention of drawing in students who may otherwise be math phobic. How does she do this? By highlighting connections between art, history, science, and nature. She calls this decompartmentalizing math. While we often see it as a one dimensional thing, Brooks is hoping to revolutionize the way students approach math, by teaching beyond  drills and such, and teaching how and why certain aspects work.

About the courses:

These 6 week group of lessons have and are being developed for approximately ages 12 years and older, but even as young as 10 years old if they are ready.  Live classes are a part of the course, but they are recorded, so families can watch them if schedule conflicts arise. There are slideshows, and activities in pdf . The courses may be used in a variety of ways with your students. You might use it as a refreshing unit study to break up the monotony of your regular curriculum. Or use it as an elective. There are also various projects to work on after a lesson. You can choose a big or small one, depending on interest.

Now for a little closer look at Math Connections with the Real World. This 6 week class includes the following lessons:

* Introduction and History of the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Numbers

* The Golden Number and Fibonacci in Art, Architecture, and Nature

* The Fibonacci Numbers in Nature

* The History and the  Golden Ratio of the Great Pyramid

* Phi and Quasicrystals

* The Mathematics of Music

Each lesson is broken down into small sections. As I said above, you can participate in the live class, and have the benefit of interaction with Gloria Brooks, as well as many other homeschool students. Or, you can choose the recorded classes, to fit your schedule. That is what we chose to do. There are introductory videos for each lesson, slideshows, and downloadable pdf's to guide you through (They are colorful and eyecatching, which I like). The end of lessons have quizlets, where you match vocabulary words and definitions. There are little projects throughout the course that may be completed. You have the option of posting your completed project results to the class page to share with Gloria and the other students, but it isn't a recquirement. Here and there, you'll find various extra videos, and information to read about the specific lesson. This is a course (as all that are in the bundle are) where you can adjust your family's pace. As you complete each section, there are boxes to check off to show it as finished. Along the way, your student is awarded digital awards. Upon completion of all 6 weeks, there is a downloadable certificate of completion to print and personalize for your records.

                                                  A few pics of the slideshows/videos:

Template for making a Quasicrystal

The completed crystal

What we liked:

I really like Gloria Brooks' manner. She comes across as down to earth and approachable. If a blip happens in one of her slideshows, she handles it easily and moves on. She listens to the students in the live class, and asks for their feedback. I also appreciate the philosophy of the course as a whole. I feel like it makes math more relatable to connect its concepts to pretty much every other subject. Seeing math in nature, music, art, science, and more kind of eliminates the fear that so many have of it. It's fascinating really. Revealing patterns in nature and music specifically were interesting to us.

What we struggled with:

I'm bummed, because parts of the course had us struggling to understand some of the material. I think it's because we simply don't have very mathematical ways of thinking. It could be that my 12 and 13 year old haven't mastered some of the concepts needed to fully appreciate the material. I would like to have had some of the basics of the lessons expanded on, for example, maybe explaining what Fibonacci numbers are, and more of an introduction of them and what they are,  than what was offered. It felt like we jumped past that a bit even from the first lesson. Some of the equations in subsequent lessons had us feeling lost, because we didn't completely understand where they came from.

Having said that, I can think of several families who would love this program. It would be a great fit for math loving families that appreciate  hands on, think outside of the box, unit study focused material. I will suggest this program to them. Are you considering a new math curriculum? Why don't you drop by NatureGlo's eScience site, and check out the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle ?

Read more Crew reviews by clicking the image below:

MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle {NatureGlo's eScience Reviews}

Sunday, March 11, 2018

DIY Catch All Bags

Okay, I have a new favorite craft, and it's great for a variety of ages, whether it's your tween daughter, or your adult girlfriends. Now, this is not my original idea. I saw one that an acquaintance had made, and it was so cute, that I had to give it a go. Have you seen the rows of bright, whimsical duct tape that's hanging out in the craft aisles these days? Forget the plain old industrial silvery gray stuff that's found in the home improvement section, because duct tape just got fun! All you need for this simple project is duct tape, in any cute variety you like, ziplock bags - I used the sandwich sized ones- , and scissors.

The process is so easy. Starting at the opening of the ziplock bag, begin wrapping the tape in vertical strips around it. Keep going until the entire bag is covered.

Once covered, wrap a length across the bag horizontally to help seal the ends of the tape, but obviously, don't tape the bag shut, or you can't use it, lol.

Trim up any uneven edges that hang over the opening of the bag. You're done! And they're so cute! And really strong! Use these for virtually anything. Pens, pencils, snacks, craft pieces, whatever you like. You can use a hole punch on it if you want to use it in a binder. This would be great for an after school project, Sunday School project, or any day. My daughters are loving these. Cheap, easy, and whimsical. Give them a try 😃

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Star - on DVD - Buy it now!


Hey, did you have a chance to see The Star this pas t holiday season? Even if your answer is no, that's alright, because it's now out on DVD , Blu ray, and in Digital! Watch this sweet movie about a group of animals  (voiced by some familiar faces), who find their way into the most important story of the world! Read the press release:

From the studio that brought you
MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN & CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS comes the timeless tale about faith, friendship, and the importance of believing in yourself. 
AFFIRM Films and Sony Pictures Animation’s THE STAR arrives for the first time on Digital on February 6 and on Blu-ray + DVD + Digital February 20 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The heartwarming animated comedy follows a small but brave donkey named Bo (voiced by Steven Yeun, “The Walking Dead”), who yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth (voiced by Aidy Bryant, “Saturday Night Live”), a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, Friends From College), a dove with lofty aspirations, along with three wisecracking camels voiced by
Tracy Morgan (“30 Rock”), Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Bo and his new friends follow the star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told.

Rounding out the all-star voice cast including Gina Rodriguez (“Jane The Virgin”) as Mary, Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) as Joseph, Grammy® Award-Winner Kelly Clarkson as Leah the horse, Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) as Zach the goat, Ving Rhames  (Mission Impossible) as Thaddeus the dog, Gabriel Iglesias (Coco, Ferdinand) as Rufus the dog, Patricia Heaton
(“The Middle”) as Edith the cow, Emmy® and Tony® Award-Winner Kristin Chenoweth as Abby the mouse, and Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) as King Herod.

THE STAR is filled with more than an hour of engaging bonus materials including the “Star-aoke: Sing Along with Bo & Friends,” a dance along to “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World, plus a collection of fun lyric videos that will have you singing along to the inspiring music from
THE STAR.  Families can enjoy crafting and baking with “how-to” videos “Star Mason Jar Votives” and “Sweet and Sparkly Stars,” and they also can go behind-the-scenes to explore the amazing talent who bring these characters to life.  In “Faith All Year Round,”
renowned pastor and motivational speaker, DeVon Franklin delivers a fun and engaging children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and keeping the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day.

THE STAR is directed by Academy Award® nominated writer/director Timothy Reckart, screenplay by Carlos Kotkin, and story by Simon Moore and Carlos Kotkin. The film is executive produced by DeVon Franklin, Brian Henson and Lisa Henson, and produced by Jennifer Magee-Cook. The Star is presented by AFFIRM films and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Walden Media, Franklin Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company. The uplifting theme song, “The Star” by Mariah Carey and veteran songwriter Marc Shaiman was also nominated for a 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. “The Star” song is now available on The Star: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which assembles new music from a bevy of powerhouse superstars.
Bonus Materials Include: 

· Star-aoke: Sing-Along with Bo & Friends: In this all new song, sing along with your favorite characters including Bo, Dave, Ruth and the unforgettable camels
· "Life Is Good" Dance-Along: Shake your tail feathers and move your hooves in this fun dance along
· Lyric Sing-Along Videos: Enjoy the eclectic and inspiring music of THE STAR with these colorful lyric videos that allow you to sing along with your favorite recording artists
o “The Star” by Mariah Carey
o “Can You See” by Fifth Harmony
o “Children Go Where I Send You” by Kelsea Ballerini
o “We Three Kings” by Kirk Franklin
o “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World
· Sweet and Sparkly Stars: Create star-themed cookies to be enjoyed year round
· Star Mason Jar Votives: Let the light of THE STAR shine with this simple yet stunning craft
· Faith All Year Round with DeVon Franklin: A children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and how to keep the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day
· An All-Star Cast: Meet the stars of the film and explore the exciting voice cast who bring these amazing characters to life

THE STAR has a run time of approximately 86 minutes and is rated PG: for some thematic elements

Now please do not miss this cool opportunity to take advantage of this bonus feature - Faith All Year Round with DeVon Franklin. It looks like a great way for your children to talk about the message of the film, and impress it upon them.

Buy The Star  here!

Disclaimer: I received either a free DVD or CD from Flyby promotions in exchange for sharing this promotional post, with no additional compensation.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

CursiveLogic - A Review

All right everyone, quickly grab a sharpened pencil and your favorite markers or crayons, because today, we're reviewing the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack  and The Art of Cursive , brought to us by CursiveLogic .
Rumor has it that many schools have given up the teaching of penmanship and handwriting, touting it as old fashioned, and unnecessary. Computer skills and keyboarding have taken over. And while I understand the need to make sure that our kids can navigate modern technology, there is great value in teaching them cursive writing, for many reasons. It not only hones those fine motor skills, it's also important for brain development, language skills, critical thinking. Taking it to a more personal level, a person's handwriting style is so unique. Do you remember receiving a card in the mail from your grandmother, aunt, or other close friend or relative? Wasn't there something comforting about seeing that familiar script? The special way in which they looped an '"L", or an "O"? I get tears in my eyes when I come across notes from loved ones that are no longer here, and yet here I have a precious memory written with their own hand. Yes, it's a big deal!  As our family began our homeschooling journey over a decade ago, it was a given that handwriting would be a natural part of the curriculum. So let's begin!

I remember sitting in my second grade classroom, looking up at the long strip of store bought, handwriting examples that bordered the upper walls above the chalkboard. We were learning the art of cursive, and it felt so important. We worked on a letter at a time, carefully looping and tracing.
 CursiveLogic is bringing the art of handwriting into the modern age. Rather than introducing it as I learned, one letter at a time, blocks of similar letters are practiced together. The alphabet is grouped in to 4 blocks of letters. Each block is assigned a different color, a different attribute common to that specific block, and then a "catch phrase" as they call it, to say out loud as they first trace, and then eventually write themselves. This multisensory approach engages in a way that increases the time it takes to learn. Also, for the younger ages, it's fun!

We began this program with a webinar. The video demonstrated the proper techniques in student positioning, posture, and writing tools - which types of pens and pencils to use, and why. All of the techniques are presented. I found it all very helpful. All of that information is also included in the student workbook, so there was no need to fear that I would forget anything.

The student workbook is designed in a way that I think is excellent for kids. It is a spiral bound book, with the spiral at the top, so there is never a time when little wrists have to rest on a bumpy surface, which might throw off proper positioning. The other benefit is not having to deal with the crease of a book from a typical workbook. It stays flat!
This handwriting program has done all the work for you. Lessons are easily laid out for each day, so students work at their own pace. Each block of letters starts out with the introduction to the characteristics of that set, practicing the catch phrase, and then connecting the letters. In the first week of this program, your child will be handwriting small words. It really is amazing. When you come to the end of the workbook, guess what? It flips over, and you begin work on the other side, working on the capital letters, and reviewing previous work.
It's been my 12 year old who has been using this book, which may sound surprising, because, hey, isn't it about 2nd grade that we teach cursive? Why use this with an older student? Well, because it's great practice! Handwriting can sometimes use a refresher, or simply improvement. Being older, she was able to work through the book at a faster pace. She happens to already have very nice penmanship, but she told me that she has enjoyed this because it's been therapeutic and relaxing for her.

Orange Oval letters

Working on the second half of the workbook

Now I have one more resource to share with you from CursiveLogic . They also provided us with a lovely coloring book that incorporates all of the techniques learned in the workbook. It does offer the tips from the original program, but is not a curriculum itself. Adults can benefit from the basic reminders and practice though. Whether this is used by an adult or a  child, it's a great way to keep up with your handwriting, and relax at the same time. But what's so special about a coloring book?, you might ask. There is no shortage of adult coloring books. True, but the cool and creative feature of The Art of Cursive is that the illustrations to be colored are the loops and letters learned in the first workbook. ( A little alliteration for your reading pleasure) There are longer quotes to practice writing, and lovely, swirly pictures to color. My daughter spent many afternoons with her colored pencils and this book. I'm a little jealous actually, and I think I'll be getting a book for myself 😏

My girl's favorite coloring page

My daughter colored this, but this is my favorite quote in the coloring book

My daughter and I have enjoyed this program, and I recommend it to those just beginning the handwriting journey, or to anyone simply desiring a  refresher course. The coloring book could be a sweet little gift for various occasions as well.

And now, a special treat for you. CursiveLogic is offering a 20% discount on the Quick-Start Pack which includes the webinar and workbook. Click the image below, and use the code CREW2018
This offer is good until the end of March 2018.

Cursive Logic New Edition March 2018 Discount

You can't beat this offer, so head over to the website now! Have a great day, and happy handwriting!

                      Read other Homeschool Crew reviews by clicking the image below.

The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}